By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Michael R. Hinchcliffe, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs
June 28, 2010 - VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2 dedicated a refurbished building in remembrance of a chief during a ceremony held aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story June 25.
Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Paul Darga (EOD/DV) was killed in action during deployment Aug. 22, 2006, when his team was struck by an improvised explosive device in Al Anbar province Iraq. Master Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EWS) Michael Mclean said the building, which will be used for professional development and training, was dedicated to pay tribute not only Darga but all EOD Sailors who have been killed in action. In their honor, a plaque listing the names of each of the EOD technicians killed was placed in the building's training classroom.
Darga's widow, Karie Gilliland, and Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson, commander of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, spoke to Sailors and guests who attended the ceremony.
"Please, use this building as a place to share lessons learned," said Gilliland. "The utmost responsibility of a chief is to take care of their Sailors, and by taking care of their Sailors they also take care of their families. Please keep that in mind in honor of Paul – that is what would make him most proud."
Tillotson said it was an honor to dedicate the building for the education of future chiefs and for the camaraderie of our present chiefs.
"I think it's fitting to have a CPO mess named after Chief Darga," said Tillotson. "The chiefs are the leadership of the troops at the deck plate. And that's what Chief Darga did; he made a difference as a chief, and as an EOD technician, and today we are honoring him in an appropriate way."